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Entries in summer (94)

Thursday
Jul102014

Detroit Zoo

Our time at the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago made us miss our own zoo. So, with just a few days between travels, that's where we went. Some may wonder how we can stand to visit the same zoo so often, but if you really spend time with the animals while you are there, you'll find that while the exhibits are fairly much the same from time to time, there is always something different to see. This trip we thought it would be baby otters, but it turned out to be a number of other things, from the Black Crowned Night Herons nesting in their rookery, to the polar bear performing for a crowd. Yes, it's always a different place for us.

What did the turtle say to the cormorant?

that is one sleepy camel...

This is Talini, the polar bear that was born the year before Calvin.

Sunday
Jun292014

Making a big splash

Friday
Jun272014

Three camps in two weeks

Boy Choir camp last week, 4H Coverbud Camp this week, and a two hour Junior Naturalist meeting over the weekend. It has been a kind of weird two weeks for me because certainly I haven't had anywhere near this much time to myself for, oh, about the last eight years. I spent most of the time sewing or reading review books, and every once in a while I would feel a fleeting moment of panic and wonder what it was I was supposed to be doing—what it was that I was missing because it wasn't usually so quiet.

For Calvin it was a delightful few weeks. He pretty much doted on the boy in the choir who told him everything he knew (and probably more) about quantum physics. He pretty much ran the classes on world geography in his 4H camp. He became intimately acquainted with the markings of an American Woodcock in his naturlists class. And after each long day he came home exhilarated...and completely worn out.

Sunday
Jun152014

Deck frog, spigot frog, a tale of two amphibians

Every year around this time we have frogs that hang out on our house. Really that's on our house, although around it is also applicable. This year we have two frogs who have been more regular and reliable than any frog of the past. This is their story.

We first met deck frog on a warm afternoon. We spotted him by chance hanging out on the lower railing of our deck. We took pictures, we enjoyed watching him, and when we left for another activity, though nothing of it when he was gone upon our return. Frogs come, frogs go. A day later, though, he was on the deck again, this time on top of the railing. Over the course of a week or two we realized that he was always around our deck somewhere: if you just took the time to search him out he was there somewhere.

We named him Deck Frog.

Then came the morning that I was outside watering. Since potted plants love sun-warmed water, I started with the potted herbs on the deck, watering them from the can I leave full nearby, before refilling the can at the rain barrel and moving on to the raised garden boxes and their vegetables. Imagine my surprise when, upon finishing my job, I put the can down to see deck frog climbing out, perhaps feeling a little harried. I apologized profusely and returned the can, and the frog, to the deck.

When a similar thing happened again a few days later, I went out and bought myself a new watering can so Deck Frog could keep the old one.

Spigot Frog is an equally constant but less personable presence in our lives, perhaps because we spend a lot more time hanging out on our deck than we do hanging out by our spigot. I met Spigot Frog when I went to attach the hose to the outdoor spigot before setting the sprinkler on our newly transplanted grass, and there he was on the ledge of the cutout in our siding. He did not move when I attached the hose, and had moved only so far as the other side of the cutout when I came back to turn the water off. For weeks he has been there throughout most of the day, gone only at night when he is hunting.

We named him Spigot Frog.

Eventually they will leave us, as all our froggy visitors do summer after summer, so we will just enjoy them as long as we can. They are both Gray treefrogs, by the way, common visitors to Michigan homes. I wonder if Spigot Frog and Deck Frog go on dates when we are not looking.

Saturday
Jun072014

May into June

The garden is growing, the warm weather is here. Time to grill, to read, to soak up the sun, to explore to the heart's content. It's summer (or at least it feels like it).